Psalm 30:6
And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) And in.—Better, But as for me, in, &c. The pronoun is emphatic. The mental struggle through which the psalmist had won his way to this sublime faith is now told in the most vivid manner, the very soliloquy being recalled.

Prosperity.—Better, security.

I shall never be moved.—Better, I shall never waver.

Psalms

ONE SAYING FROM THREE MEN

Psalm 10:6
. - Psalm 16:8. - Psalm 30:6.

How differently the same things sound when said by different men! Here are three people giving utterance to almost the same sentiment of confidence. A wicked man says it, and it is insane presumption and defiance. A good man says it, having been lulled into false security by easy times, and it is a mistake that needs chastisement. A humble believing soul says it, and it is the expression of a certain and blessed truth. ‘The wicked saith in his heart, I shall not be moved.’ A good man, led astray by his prosperity, said, ‘I shall not be moved,’ and the last of the three put a little clause in which makes all the difference, ‘because He is at my right hand, I shall never be moved.’ So, then, we have the mad arrogance of godless confidence, the mistake of a good man that needs correction, and the warranted confidence of a believing soul.

I. The mad arrogance of godless confidence.

The ‘wicked’ man, in the psalm from which our first text comes, said a good many wrong things ‘in his heart.’ The tacit assumptions on which a life is based, though they may never come to consciousness, and still less to utterance, are the really important things. I dare say this ‘wicked man’ was a good Jew with his lips, and said his prayers all properly, but in his heart he had two working beliefs. One is thus expressed: ‘As for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved.’ The other is put into words thus: ‘He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten, He hideth His face. He will never see it.’

That is to say, the only explanation of a godless life, unless the man is an idiot, is that there lie beneath it, as formative principles and unspoken assumptions, guiding and shaping it, one or both of these two thoughts: either ‘There is no God,’ or ‘He does not care what I do, and I am safe to go on for evermore in the present fashion.’ It might seem as if a man with the facts of human life before him, could not, even in the insanest arrogance, say, ‘I shall not be moved, for I shall never be in adversity.’ But we have an awful power-and the fact that we exercise, and choose to exercise, it is one of the strange riddles of our enigmatical existence and characters-of ignoring unwelcome facts, and going cheerily on as though we had annihilated them, because we do not reflect upon them. So this man, in the midst of a world in which there is no stay, and whilst he saw all round him the most startling and tragical instances of sudden change and complete collapse, stands quietly and says, ‘Ah! I shall never be moved’; ‘God doth not require it.’

That absurdity is the basis of every life that is not a life of consecration and devotion-so far as it has a basis of conviction at all. The ‘wicked’ man’s true faith is this, absurd as it may sound when you drag it out into clear, distinct utterance, whatever may be his professions. I wonder if there are any of us whose life can only be acquitted of being utterly unreasonable and ridiculous by the assumption, ‘I shall never be moved’?

Have you a lease of your goods? Do you think you are tenants at will or owners? Which? Is there any reason why any of us should escape, as some of us live as if we believed we should escape, the certain fate of all others? If there is not, what about the sanity of the man whose whole life is built upon a blunder? He is convicted of the grossest folly, unless he be assured that either there is no God, or that He does not care one rush about what we do, and that consequently we are certain of a continuance in our present state.

Do you say in your heart, ‘I shall never be moved’? Then you must be strong enough to resist every tempest that beats against you. Is that so? ‘I shall never be moved’-then nothing that contributes to your well-being will ever slip from your grasp, but you will be able to hold it tight. Is that so? ‘I shall never be moved’-then there is no grave waiting for you. Is that so? Unless these three assumptions be warranted, every godless man is making a hideous blunder, and his character is the sentence pronounced by the loving lips of Incarnate Truth on the rich man who thought that he had ‘much goods laid up for many years,’ and had only to be merry-’Thou fool! Thou fool!’ If an engineer builds a bridge across a river without due calculation of the force of the winds that blow down the gorge, the bridge will be at the bottom of the stream some stormy night, and the train piled on the fragments of it in hideous ruin. And with equal certainty the end of the first utterer of this speech can be calculated, and is foretold in the psalm, ‘The Lord is King for ever and ever. . . . The godless are perished out of the land.’

II. We have in our second text the mistake of a good man who has been lulled into false confidence.

The Psalmist admits his error by the acknowledgment that he spoke ‘in my prosperity’; or, as the word might be rendered, ‘in my security.’ This suggests to us the mistake into which even good men, lulled by the quiet continuance of peaceful days, are certain to fall, unless there be continual watchfulness exercised by them.

It is a very significant fact that the word which is translated in our Authorised Version ‘prosperity’ is often rendered ‘security,’ meaning thereby, not safety, but a belief that I am safe. A man who is prosperous, or at ease, is sure to drop into the notion that ‘to-morrow will be as this day, and much more abundant,’ unless he keeps up unslumbering watchfulness against the insidious illusion of permanence. If he yields to the temptation, in his foolish security, forgetting how fragile are its foundations, and what a host of enemies surround him threatening it, then there is nothing for it but that the merciful discipline, which this Psalmist goes on to tell us he had to pass through by reason of his fall, shall be brought to bear upon him. The writer gives us a page of his own autobiography. ‘In my security I said, I shall never be moved.’ ‘Lord! by Thy favour Thou hast made my mountain to stand strong. Thou didst hide Thy face.’ What about the security then? What about ‘I shall never be moved’ then? ‘I was troubled. I cried to Thee, O Lord!’-and then it was all right, his prayer was heard, and he was in ‘security’-that is, safety-far more really when he was ‘troubled’ and sore beset than when he had been, as he fancied, sure of not being moved.

Long peace rusts the cannon, and is apt to make it unfit for war. Our lack of imagination, and our present sense of comfort and well-being, tend to make us fancy that we shall go on for ever in the quiet jog-trot of settled life without any very great calamities or changes. But there was once a village at the bottom of the crater of Vesuvius, and great trees, that had grown undisturbed there for a hundred years, and green pastures, and happy homes and flocks. And then, one day, a rumble and a rush, and what became of the village? It went up in smoke-clouds. The quiescence of the volcano is no sign of its extinction. And as surely as we live, so sure is it that there will come a ‘to-morrow’ to us all which shall not be as this day. No man has any right to calculate upon anything beyond the present moment, and there is no basis whatever, either for the philosophical assertion that the order of nature is fixed, and that therefore there are no miracles, or for the practical translation of the assertion into our daily lives, that we may reasonably expect to go on as we are without changes or calamities. There is no reason capable of being put into logical shape for believing that, because the sun has risen ever since the beginning of things, it will rise to-morrow, for there will come a to-morrow when it will not rise. In like manner, the longest possession of our mercies is no reason for forgetting the precarious tenure on which we hold them all.

So, Christian men and women! let us try to keep vivid that consciousness which is so apt to get dull, that nothing continueth in one stay, and that we shall be moved, as far as the outward life and its circumstances are concerned. If we forget it, we shall need, and we shall get, the loving Fatherly discipline, which my second text tells us followed the false security of this good man. The sea is kept from putrefying by storms. Wine poured from vessel to vessel is purified thereby. It is an old truth and a wholesome one, to be always remembered, ‘because they have no changes therefore they fear not God .’

III. Lastly, we have the same thing said by another man in another key.

‘Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.’ The prelude to the assertion makes all the difference. Here is the warranted confidence of a simple faith.

The man who clasps God’s hand, and has Him standing by his side, as his Ally, his Companion, his Guide, his Defence-that man does not need to fear change. For all the things which convict the arrogant or mistaken confidences of the other men as being insanity or a lapse from faith prove the confidence of the trustful soul to be the very perfection of reason and common sense.

We may be confident of our power to resist anything that can come against us, if He be at our side. The man that stands with his back against an oak-tree is held firm, not because of his own strength, but because of that on which he leans. There is a beautiful story of some heathen convert who said to a missionary’s wife, who had felt faint and asked that she might lean for a space on her stronger arm, ‘If you love me, lean hard.’ That is what God says to us, ‘If you love Me, lean hard.’ And if you do, because He is at your right hand, you will not be moved. It is not insanity; it is not arrogance; it is simple faith, to look our enemies in the eyes, and to feel sure that they cannot touch us, ‘Trust in Jehovah; so shall ye be established.’ Rest on the Lord, and ye shall rest indeed.

In like manner the man who has God at his right hand may be sure of the unalterable continuance of all his proper good. Outward things may come or go, as it pleases Him, but that which makes the life of our life will never depart from us as long as He stands there. And whilst He is there, if only our hearts are knit to Him, we can say, ‘My heart and my flesh faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. I shall not be moved. Though all that can go goes, He abides; and in Him I have all riches.’ Trust not in the uncertainty of outward good, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.

The wicked man was defiantly arrogant, and the forgetful good man was criminally self-confident, when they each said, ‘I shall not be moved.’ We are only taking up the privileges that belong to us if, exercising faith in Him, we venture to say, ‘Take what Thou wilt; leave me Thyself; I have enough.’ And the man who says, ‘Because God is at my right hand, I shall not be moved,’ has the right to anticipate an unbroken continuance of personal being, and an unchanged continuance of the very life of his life. That which breaks off all other lives abruptly is no breach in the continuity, either of the consciousness or of the avocations of a devout man. For, on the other side of the flood, he does what he does on this side, only more perfectly and more continually. ‘He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever,’ and it makes comparatively little difference to him whether his place be on this or on the other side of Jordan. We ‘shall not be moved,’ even when we change our station from earth to heaven, and the sublime fulfilment of the warranted confidence of the trustful soul comes when the ‘to-morrow’ of the skies is as the ‘to-day’ of earth, only ‘much more abundant.’Psalm 30:6-7. In my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved — I thought myself past all danger of further changes. The word שׁלוי, shalvi, rendered prosperity, denotes peace and tranquillity, arising from an affluent, prosperous condition. When God had settled him quietly on the throne, he thought his troubles were over, and that he should enjoy uninterrupted happiness; that God had placed him secure from all dangers, as though he had taken refuge in an inaccessible mountain, that he had made his prosperity firm, and no more subject to alteration than a mountain is liable to be removed out of its place. By thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong — Thou hast firmly settled me in my kingdom, which he calls his mountain, 1st, Because kingdoms are usually called mountains in the prophetical writings, a mountain, by its height, being a very natural representation of a superior condition. 2d, With allusion to mount Zion, the fortress of which he had lately taken, which was properly his mountain, as he had fixed upon it for his dwelling, and had there built his royal palace. All this he regarded as the effect of God’s favour to him, and promised himself that his peace and happiness, for the future, would be as undisturbed and unshaken as mount Zion itself. Thou didst hide thy face — Displeased with my presumption, and the security I had fondly promised myself, thou didst withdraw thy favour, protection, and help; and I was troubled — My dream of uninterrupted tranquillity vanished; I was quickly brought into fresh troubles, difficulties, and dangers, and saw the vanity of all my carnal confidences. Dr. Chandler thinks he refers to the two invasions of the Philistines, which happened soon after they found he had been anointed king over Israel, 2 Samuel 5:17. But, perhaps, he speaks chiefly, if not only, of distress of mind arising from a sense of God’s withdrawing the light of his countenance, and showing that he was displeased with him. In this unexpected distress he cried unto the Lord, and in his supplication expressed himself as in the following verses.30:6-12 When things are well with us, we are very apt to think that they will always be so. When we see our mistake, it becomes us to think with shame upon our carnal security as our folly. If God hide his face, a good man is troubled, though no other calamity befal him. But if God, in wisdom and justice, turn from us, it will be the greatest folly if we turn from him. No; let us learn to pray in the dark. The sanctified spirit, which returns to God, shall praise him, shall be still praising him; but the services of God's house cannot be performed by the dust; it cannot praise him; there is none of that device or working in the grave, for it is the land of silence. We ask aright for life, when we do so that we may live to praise him. In due time God delivered the psalmist out of his troubles. Our tongue is our glory, and never more so than when employed in praising God. He would persevere to the end in praise, hoping that he should shortly be where this would be the everlasting work. But let all beware of carnal security. Neither outward prosperity, nor inward peace, here, are sure and lasting. The Lord, in his favour, has fixed the believer's safety firm as the deep-rooted mountains, but he must expect to meet with temptations and afflictions. When we grow careless, we fall into sin, the Lord hides his face, our comforts droop, and troubles assail us.And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved - I shall never be visited with calamity or trial. This refers to a past period of his life, when everything seemed to be prosperous, and when he had drawn around him so many comforts, and had apparently made them so secure, that it seemed as if they could never be taken from him, or as if he had nothing to fear. To what precise period of his life the psalmist refers, it is now impossible to ascertain. It is sufficient to say, that men are often substantially in that state of mind. They have such vigorous constitutions and such continued health; their plans are so uniformly crowned with success; everything which they touch so certainly turns to gold, and every enterprise so certainly succeeds; they have so many and such warmly attached friends; they have accumulated so much property, and it is so safely invested - that it seems as if they were never to know reverses, and they unconsciously suffer the illusion to pass over the mind that they are never to see changes, and that they have nothing to dread. They become self-confident. They forget their dependence on God. In their own minds they trace their success to their own efforts, tact and skill, rather than to God. They become worldly-minded, and it is necessary for God to teach them how easily he can sweep all this away - and thus to bring them back to a right view of the uncertainty of all earthly things. Health fails, or friends die, or property takes wings and flies away; and God accomplishes his purpose - a purpose invaluable to them - by showing them their dependence on Himself, and by teaching them that permanent and certain happiness and security are to be found in Him alone. 6, 7. What particular prosperity is meant we do not know; perhaps his accession to the throne. In his self-complacent elation he was checked by God's hiding His face (compare Ps 22:24; 27:9).6 And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.

7 Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.

Psalm 30:6

"In my prosperity." When all his foes were quiet, and his rebellious son dead and buried, then was the time of peril. Many a vessel founders in a calm. No temptation is so bad as tranquility. "I said, I shall never be moved." Ah! David, you said more than was wise to say, or even to think, for God has founded the world upon the floods, to show us what a poor, mutable, movable, inconstant world it is. Unhappy he who builds upon it! He builds himself a dungeon for his hopes. Instead of conceiving that we shall never be moved, we ought to remember that we shall very soon be moved altogether. Nothing is abiding beneath the moon. Because I happen to be prosperous today, I must not fancy that I shall be in my high estate tomorrow. As in a wheel, the uppermost spokes descend to the bottom in due course, so is it with mortal conditions. There is a constant revolution; many who are in the dust today shall be highly elevated tomorrow; while those who are now aloft shall soon grind the earth. Prosperity had evidently turned the Psalmist's head, or he would not have been so self-confident. He stood by grace, and yet forgot himself, and so met with a fall. Reader, is there not much of the same proud stuff in all our hearts? let us beware lest the fumes of intoxicating success get into our brains and make fools of us also.

Psalm 30:7

"Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong." He ascribed his prosperity to the Lord's favour - so far good, it is well to own the hand of the Lord in all our stability and wealth. But observe that the good in a good man is not unmingled good, for this was alloyed with carnal security. His state he compares to a mountain, a molehill would have been nearer - we never think too little of ourselves. He boasted that his mountain stood strong, and yet he had before, in Psalm 29:1-11, spoken of Sirion and Lebanon as moving like young unicorns. Was David's state more firm than Lebanon? Ah, vain conceit, too common to us sill How soon the bubble bursts when God's people get conceit into their heads, and fancy that they are to enjoy immutability beneath the stars, and constancy upon this whirling orb. How touchingly and teachingly God corrected his servant's mistake: "Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled." There was no need to come to blows, a hidden face was enough. This proves, first, that David was a genuine saint, for no hiding of God's face on earth would trouble a sinner; and, secondly, that the joy of the saint is dependent upon the presence of his Lord. No mountain, however firm, can yield us rest when our communion with God is broken, and his face is concealed. However, in such a case, it is well to be troubled. The next best thing to basking in the light of God's countenance, is to be thoroughly unhappy when that bliss is denied us.

"Lord, let me weep for nought for sin!

And after none but thee!

And then I would - O that Imight,

A constant weeper be!"

I thought myself past all danger of further changes, forgetting my own frailty, and the uncertainty of all worldly things. And in my prosperity,.... Either outward prosperity, when he was settled in his kingdom, and as acknowledged king by all the tribes of Israel, and had gotten the victory over all his enemies, and was at rest from them round about; or inward and spiritual prosperity, having a spiritual appetite for the word, being in the lively exercise of grace, growing in it, and in the knowledge of Christ; favoured with communion with God, having flesh discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy, corruptions being subdued, the inward man renewed with spiritual strength, and more fruitful in every good word and work. This being the case,

I said, I shall never be moved; so in outward prosperity men are apt to sing a requiem to themselves, and fancy it will always be thus with them, be in health of body, and enjoying the affluence of temporal things, and so put away the evil day in one sense and another from them; and even good men themselves are subject to this infirmity, Job 29:18; and who also, when in comfortable frames of soul, and in prosperous circumstances in spiritual things, are ready to conclude if will always be thus with them, or better. Indeed they can never be moved as to their state and condition with respect to God; not from his heart, where they are set as a seal; nor out of the arms of Christ, and covenant of grace; nor out of the family of God; nor from a state of justification and grace; but they may be moved as to the exercise of grace and discharge of duty, in which they vary; and especially when they are self-confident, and depend upon their own strength for the performance of these things, and for a continuance in such frames, which seems to have been David's case; and therefore he corrects himself, and his sense of things, in Psalm 30:7.

And in my {g} prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.

(g) I put too much confidence in my quiet state as in Jer 31:18, 2Ch 32:24,25.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. Render with R.V.

As for me, I said in my prosperity.

The word translated prosperity includes the idea of careless security, resulting from uninterrupted good fortune. Comp. Proverbs 1:32; and for the carnal pride that is apt to spring from prosperity, see Deuteronomy 8:10 ff; Deuteronomy 32:15; Daniel 4:27 ff.

I shall never be moved] Forgetting his dependence upon God, and approaching perilously near the godless man’s self-confident boast (Psalm 10:6).

6, 7. The Psalmist relates his own experience of the truth stated in the preceding verse. His presumption had required the correction of chastisement.Verses 6-12. - Now begins the expanded account of the deliverance in respect of which the thanksgiving is offered. And first, with regard to the offence that had drawn down the Divine chastisement; it was an offence of the lips, springing from an evil temper in the heart. Verse 6. - And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved; rather, as in the Revised Version, and as for me, in my prosperity I said, etc. There is a marked pause, and introduction of a new subject in a new strophe. Prosperity had worked an ill effect on the psalmist, had made him self-confident and proud. He "said in his heart," as the wicked man in Psalm 10:6, only in still stronger phrase, "I shall not be moved;" literally, I shall not be moved for ever. His heart was lifted up, and in the spirit of self-glorification he gave command for the numbering of the people. The result was the plague, and the death of seventy thousand of his subjects. Into these details he does not here enter. He is content to trace his sin to its bitter root of pride, and to glance at its punishment (ver. 7) and his repentance (vers. 8-10). Luther renders it: "The Lord sitteth to prepare a Flood," thus putting meaning into the unintelligible rendering of the Vulgate and lxx; and in fact a meaning that accords with the language - for ישׁב ל is most certainly intended to be understood after the analogy of ישׁב למשׁפט, Psalm 122:5, cf. Psalm 9:8 - just as much as with the context; for the poet has not thus far expressly referred to the torrents of rain, in which the storm empties itself. Engelhardt also (Lutherische Zeitschrift, 1861, 216f.), Kurtz (Bibel und Astronomie, S. 568, Aufl. 4), Riehm (Liter. - Blatt of the Allgem. Kirchen-Zeit., 1864, S. 110), and others understand by מבול the quasi-flood of the torrent of rain accompanying the lightning and thunder. But the word is not למבול, but למּבול, and המּבּוּל (Syr. momûl) occurs exclusively in Genesis 6-11 as the name of the great Flood. Every tempest, however, calls to mind this judgment and its merciful issue, for it comes before us in sacred history as the first appearance of rain with lightning and thunder, and of the bow in the clouds speaking its message of peace (Genesis, S. 276). The retrospective reference to this event is also still further confirmed by the aorist ויּשׁב which follows the perfect ישׁב (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis i. 208). Jahve - says the poet - sat (upon His throne) at the Flood (to execute it), and sits (enthroned) in consequence thereof, or since that time, as this present revelation of Him in the tempest shows, as King for ever, inasmuch as He rules down here upon earth from His throne in the heavens (Psalm 115:16) in wrath and in mercy, judging and dispensing blessing. Here upon earth He has a people, whom from above He endows with a share of His own might and blesses with peace, while the tempests of His wrath burst over their foes. How expressive is בּשּׁלום as the closing word of this particular Psalm! It spans the Psalm like a rain-bow. The opening of the Psalm shows us the heavens opened and the throne of God in the midst of the angelic songs of praise, and the close of the Psalm shows us, on earth, His people victorious and blessed with peace (בּ as in Genesis 24:1

(Note: The Holy One, blessed be He-says the Mishna, Uksin iii. 12, with reference to this passage in the Psalms-has not found any other vessel (כלי) to hold the blessing specially allotted to Israel but peace.))

in the midst of Jahve's voice of anger, which shakes all things. Gloria in excelsis is its beginning, and pax in terris its conclusion.

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